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6 Best Virtual Mailbox Services for Privacy

A virtual mailbox service can be your best friend. They’re great for people who travel a lot or otherwise find it difficult to pick up the mail as often as they would like. They are also great for keeping your address private, especially if you run a home based business, and junk mail filtering. 

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Mailboxes mounted on wall

What’s a Virtual Mailbox Service, Exactly?

A virtual mailbox service is an online service that allows you to receive and manage your physical mail and packages remotely. It works by providing you with a virtual address that you can use as your mailing address, which can be located in a different city, state, or even country from your physical location.

When you sign up, you will be assigned a unique physical mailing address you can use for all your mail and package deliveries from all major carriers. Once you set up your account, the service provider will receive all your incoming mail and packages on your behalf.

When your mail and packages are received, the envelopes or package labels are scanned and uploaded to your online account in the company’s website or software app. You get an email notification so you can then view the scanned images of your mail and packages and choose what you want to do with them. You can either have the mail forwarded to you, shred it, or recycle it.

If you choose to have your mail forwarded to you, the service provider will send it to your physical address. You can specify how often you want your mail forwarded, whether it’s weekly, monthly, or on-demand. Some virtual mailbox companies also offer international mail forwarding, which allows you to receive mail and packages from different countries.

Besides mail forwarding, most virtual mailbox services also provide additional features such as package consolidation, where you can consolidate multiple packages into one shipment to save on shipping rates. This can be useful if you need to access important documents or items while you’re traveling or working remotely.

Overall, a virtual mailbox service provides a convenient and efficient way to manage your physical mail and packages remotely. It can be particularly useful for frequent travelers, digital nomads, and small businesses that operate remotely.

What to Look for in a Virtual Mailbox Service

The way these services work may seem complex at first, but it’s simple.

  1. You set up forwarding from their physical street address (most services offer several of these). This is a matter of completing an official form from the US Post Office.
  2. Then you tell everyone who sends you postal mail to send it to this new real street address, which the service will give you. Or you can use the USPS mail forwarding service, but read here on why you might not want to trust the post office with mail forwarding.
  3. Your incoming mail starts going to the digital mailbox service, and they scan the outside of each envelope for you to look at. Then you tell them whether to forward your mail, scan it, or shred it.
  4. Yes, you can continue using your real address for important mail or anything you want and just use the virtual address to catch the junk mail (most of them offer junk mail filtering so you never even see it).

Who Needs Virtual Mail?

Digital Nomads

Virtual mail is great for frequent travelers and people with no fixed abode. You may be RVing around the country or jet setting around the globe. Or you may just spend a lot of nights away from home as part of your job.

Instead of dealing with the post office and vacation mail stops, or asking a neighbor to grab the mail for you, your virtual mailbox provider lets you manage your mail online and only forward mail you need to have in your hands.

Home Based Business

And then there’s the home-based small business owner, freelancer or solopreneur. You need a service that allows you to have a legitimate virtual office address to show to clients or the world at large. That way you can receive your business mail or packages at this address for your business instead of having to give out your home address.

It’s also great if you want to keep your personal and business mail separate. Like, say, if you have kids at home that like to get the mail and sometimes misplace it.

You may also need a virtual mailbox service that offers business services, like a registered agent address or a virtual office.

Rural / No Parcel Addresses

A virtual mailing address is great for those who can’t receive FedEx or UPS parcels where they live. You need a real physical street address for them. You can give them your virtual mailbox address instead. And if you can wait, you can save money by letting them bundle up a bunch of packages and then forward them to you as needed.

Got Amazon Thieves or Package Stealers?

You might choose a virtual mailbox if you don’t have a very secure place to receive parcels, and you’re concerned about someone stealing or damaging them. 

Privacy & Security

You may just value your privacy on principle, or you may have a violent ex who needs an address to send your support checks. Whatever your situation, a virtual mail service offers virtual addresses to give to people and companies you’d rather not give your home address to. 

Apartment Residents

And these services also help those who don’t feel secure picking up their mail. For example, you may work late most evenings and live in a courtyard apartment where the mailboxes aren’t well-lit. If you don’t feel safe grabbing your mail, use a virtual mailbox service provider to get your mail.

What Makes the Best Virtual Mailbox Service for You?

Your first step is to identify what you most need. Some services are better or cheaper than others at certain things. You’ll need a mailbox service that offers the services you need at the best possible price.

  • Do you mainly need a service to forward your packages to where you’re traveling or staying? And do you need package storage?
  • Is your main goal simply the privacy of having an address to give out that’s not your home, like a virtual business address?
  • Do you need check depositing services?
  • Do you receive a large amount of mail? Check whether your plan includes enough mail items per month.. Do you need physical mail storage?
  • Do you need services like indefinite virtual mail storage? Or mail shredding? Do you care how they recycle mail items?
  • Do you need a virtual office or virtual business assistance?
  • Is it important for your service to integrate with another service you use, like Dropbox or Google Drive?
  • Do you need a physical address in a particular region?
  • Do you want a virtual mailbox provider with a physical location close enough for you to go pick up packages?
  • Do they need to be able to receive legal documents on your behalf?
  • Will the basic plan work, or do you need more mail recipients or users, or additional services?

Best Virtual Mailbox Solutions